An incredible step forward was done by humanity only a week ago when Patrick’s Law was approved by the New Jersey Senate. This law will charge any person who fails to satisfy animals’ basic needs and provide them with good living conditions or who abuses or hurts them in any way with sentences that can go from fines to imprisonment.
On March 16, 2011, Patrick was found miraculously alive inside a plastic bag in a dumpster in Newark, New Jersey. A maintenance man who found him took him to the to Humane Society and the starved dog was sent to the Garden State Veterinary, where the efforts to save his life started. The pooch was found on St. Patrick’s eve and because he survived the night against all odds, he was named Patrick.
At that moment, the absence of laws addressing domestic animal cruelty in New Jersey as well as in the rest of the country would result in only a mild sentence for the offenders.
Since then, two fights started: one for Patrick’s life, and another for the establishment for a new law that could prevent future cases of animal cruelty by giving the judges the tools they needed to treat animal abuse as a felony and strengthen the punishment, both in terms of prison and fines.
While Patrick struggled to survive and recover, a movement called Patrick’s Law was founded to rise awareness about animal abuse, bring about State and Federal laws for animal welfare, and create an Animal Abuser Registry.
The news reached millions of people worldwide who joined the movement and helped bring about Patrick’s Law, a bill that was approved on September 13th by the Senate Economic Growth Committee and became a law on October 26th when the New Jersey Senate unanimously passed S1303. Patrick’s Law considers cruelty and neglect as a fourth-degree crime or a third-degree crime if the animal dies. Civil penalties from $1,000 to $3,000 for a first offense, and $3,000 to $5,000 for a second offense also apply. This law also increased criminal and civil penalties, charges aggressors with imprisonment for a term up to six months, or both, for cruelty upon any living creature by any means, either for not providing them with proper food, drink, shelter and protection from the weather, or for leaving them unattended in a vehicle.
Animal cruelty is a problem with a broad range of complex issues that arise from abuse, neglect, animal fighting, slaughtering, farming methods, etc. The story of Patrick would have never been told if he had ended in a pile of garbage without ever being noticed. However, he struggled for survival and became an evidence of the worst and also the best sides to humanity. Patrick’s Law movement should be the starting line for a social responsible world community that assures the welfare of any living creature. He took the first step towards raising awareness and now it is our job to continue it.
This video documents Patrick’s condition and recovery.
Warning: the video below contains disturbing and graphic images that may be upsetting to some viewers